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Factory-Supercharged 1957 Ford Thunderbird F-Code Stick/Overdrive


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I have always thought T-Birds were for old guys and Suzanne Sommers.   Now that I'm getting older I like them.  Imagine that!

 

Other than the white,  I can't think of a better one:

 

https://bringatrailer.com/listing/1957-ford-thunderbird-99/

 

This 1957 Ford Thunderbird is reported to be one of approximately 200 F-code examples featuring a 312ci V8 equipped from the factory with a Paxton/McCulloch supercharger. It was first delivered to T. Lyell Puckett Ford in Alhambra, California, in August 1957, and the previous owner is said to have commissioned a mechanical and cosmetic refurbishment by Frank Stubbs in Washington that was completed in 1989 and said to have included a frame refinish, repaint, engine rebuild, and replacement of the interior upholstery and carpet. The car is finished in Colonial White over a two-tone blue interior, and additional equipment includes a three-speed manual transmission with overdrive, a blue convertible top, a power-adjustable seat, electric windows, and a Town and Country radio. The car has reportedly been awarded nine Gold Medallion awards from the Classic Thunderbird Club International (CTCI). Acquired by the current owner in 1998, this ‘F-bird’ is now offered by the seller on behalf of its current owner with its factory gate release form, brand literature, scoring sheets, service records, spare wheels and wheel covers, and a clean Washington title.

1957_ford_thunderbird_1.jpg

1957_ford_thunderbird_2.jpg

1957_ford_thunderbird_3.jpg

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Yes, WSW means white sidewall tires and most early T-Birds were delivered that way. What makes it look a little strange is the "dog dish" wheel covers on the white wheels. According to the factory invoice this car came with full wheel covers (the turbine kind) that most 57 T-Birds had at delivery. I would either switch to those or put on the (incorrect for the car) Kelsey-Hayes style wire wheels. I agree with Matt that the current setup is a little too much white.

The other thing that is interesting about this car is it is pretty well optioned with the rare dial-a-matic seat and power windows, among other things. However no power steering or brakes. It does not look to have been ordered as a "drag" car with all of the extra weight added.

Still a very nice car that looks to have been properly restored.  Wish mine looked that good!

Lew Bachman

1957 Thunderbird

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The ad states the wheel covers are included , along with the literature.

 

Acquired by the current owner in 1998, this ‘F-bird’ is now offered by the seller on behalf of its current owner with its factory gate release form, brand literature, scoring sheets, service records, spare wheels and wheel covers, and a clean Washington title.

Edited by roysboystoys (see edit history)
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Posted (edited)

Mecum is selling the same car but in Black and automatic.   I much prefer the look of this car,  but the stick/overdrive would probably lead me to the white car.

 

https://www.mecum.com/lots/SC0521-462335/1957-ford-thunderbird-f-code

T-Bird-Black-F.jpg

 

 

 

7 hours ago, West Peterson said:

I like the white and the dog-dish hub caps, but it would look better with black tires and no skirts. Here's a white F-bird I recently photographed.

 

As always,  agreed on the blackwalls.  I'm not a big skirt guy,  but they look ok on the T-Bird.

Edited by alsancle (see edit history)
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There seem to be two flavors of these "F" Birds. One is the white car that bereft of options except for the supercharged engine and overdrive. That car was setup for drag racing. The other flavor is like the black car that is heavily optioned and was probably someone's high performance daily driver. Many years ago Shell Auto Care ran a commercial about a guy who owned a 57 T-Bird that he put 740,000 miles on over 35 years. The idea was that Shell Auto Care was a major factor in its longevity. That particular car was a supercharged one. According to Prestige Thunderbird that car was in pretty rough shape, although not rusty since he worked and drove in in California. The supercharger also failed in some podunk town in California and the owner had the unit taken off and a Holley 4150 put on instead. Too bad that the supercharger and related components were probably junked.

Lew Bachman

1957 Thunderbird  

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The supercharged 312 Y-block of 1957 was rated at 300 horsepower.

Pretty good, but to get there it was supercharged with all the inherent issues of proper tuning and operation. 

 

Then in 1958, the new 4 passenger Bird had a base/standard 352 FE engine rated at 300 horsepower(!)

No dual 4 bbls, no supercharger, just a single 4 barrel carb. 

 

the 57 and 58 Birds are completely different cars of course, but as soon as the 58 352 motor hit the showrooms the idea of trying to keep up a supercharged engine in light of a simpler powerplant that had the same power, pretty much took the bloom off the rose. 

 

The romance of a supercharger continued of course but just like Grahams, and 57 Packards the extra repairs and maintenance needed on an old used car meant that the daily driver was better off with a basic style naturally aspirated induction. 

 

The AMA banned racing involvement in 1958, but plans seemed to be to put the new Thunderbird on the NASCAR tracks in place of the Fords.

 

Neat for collectors today, but superchargers get real old real fast as a car ages. 

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5 hours ago, m-mman said:

Neat for collectors today, but superchargers get real old real fast as a car ages. 

 

I think your statement is true and illustrates the disconnect between what is desirable as a collector car and what made sense as an every day car.   It seems the two are generally not related and in fact,  the most desirable collector cars are the most useless or hardest to use when new.

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31 minutes ago, alsancle said:

No sale at 160,000?

 

I would have thought that would have gotten it done.  But I'm no expert on F code T-birds.

 

No, but you don't need to be an expert to spot a dreamer.

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Minter's name is in the license plate area.  From what I hear Minter's does the best job at restoring these T-Birds.  Gee 160K and no sale. 

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Interesting in the fact I didn’t know a Bird would bring anywhere near the no sale number. While it looks nice, and I know nothing about T Birds except it’s the first car I ever remember riding in at two or three years old, BAT is a fairly prominent spot in the market today. Wouldn’t one assume that that is a fair market value? People tossing 250k around and while I have no clue, under 100k on value on a vehicle usually would cause the price to get to a much higher number that is expected. Any recent similar sales?

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Hill's, CASCO, and Prestige are all top T-Bird restorers that easily match or exceed Minter's best restorations. Our local club has a more nuanced view of Minter's efforts, based on cars we have seen that were "restored" by him. If you want to know anything more please PM me.

 

For edinmass, the reason this car was bid up so high is because it is one of only 208 that were produced and it is over-restored to a high level. It is also a well equipped car. The "F" Code T-Birds (factory supercharged) are at the top of the T-Bird pile right now. Having said that I agree with Matt, I don't understand turning down $160K for that.

Lew Bachman

1957 Thunderbird  

 

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Lew, thanks for the info. I understand rarity, but never recall a Bird making numbers this high, I don’t follow them, but enjoy remembering when we drove one as an every day car back in the early 70’s. 

Edited by edinmass (see edit history)
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16 minutes ago, B Jake Moran said:

And I thought T Bird prices were down. I would take a 312 4 barrel at what? Less than half of this price at least.  


Matt would know better but I think 50k buys a very nice 57.

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2 hours ago, alsancle said:


Matt would know better but I think 50k buys a very nice 57.

 

 

On the "standard" cars I think it's a fair amount less than that. I have no bias one way or the other, but have heard multiple times that an "early bird" costs the same today as it did back in the 80's. 

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Any year, any color, any options, a good 2-seat 'Bird is $35,000, tops. E-code, maybe $70,000. F-code is always a shot in the dark since there are so few of them, but $160,000 should have bought the best one in the world, I would think. Add the "Amos Minter" name and there's probably an automatic 20% bounce, even though I, too, have heard the stories. He's still "the guy" when it comes to these T-Birds, so there's a premium people are willing to pay because they assume perfection.

 

No matter which way you slice it, that was an eye-watering number and there should be a new owner's name on that car's title. The seller is going to own it a long time if he's looking for a bigger payday than that, epecially given the declining interest in such things...

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32 minutes ago, edinmass said:

 

 

On the "standard" cars I think it's a fair amount less than that. I have no bias one way or the other, but have heard multiple times that an "early bird" costs the same today as it did back in the 80's. 

 

I think you are right with the 55/56.  25-30k buys a decent car.   12k buys you a runner.

 

The 57 has the bigger 312.

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I collected, bought, sold, early Birds, starting in the 70’s.  I’ve had about a dozen, all years.  They are a commodity, choose color and features and go buy one, no need to restore, buy a really nice one now for 30k.  In the 80s half that would buy you the best, so in 40 years they’ve doubled in value. Meh.  F bird is much more valuable. Fit and finish usually less than stellar on any of them, rare to find doors that really fit.  Minter had a sketchy reputation even back then, apparently a real crap shoot buying one of his cars.

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Friend has a minter '55.  Not a POS, but not the best I have seen either. Really a very average bird.

 

Same guy bought his first CCCA Packard, a V-12 from the cigar guy. He was less excited after a few months..

 

Went with the big names as he started getting serious.  Not doing that anymore. 🤔😉

Edited by Steve_Mack_CT (see edit history)
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